Friday, September 20, 2013

Hal Leonard Publishes The Bruce Swedien Recording Method

Learn from the music engineer who recorded and mixed the biggest-selling albums of all time!

Montclair, NJ (September 19, 2013) – Bruce Swedien’s impact on popular music is undeniable. Engineers at all levels use Swedien’s recordings as a definitive sonic standard. The Bruce Swedien Recording Method is a timeless reference for anyone interested in capturing and mixing the best possible music recordings. From recording and mixing Michael Jackson’s albums (Off the Wall, Thriller, Bad, Dangerous, Invincible, and HIStory), to many Quincy Jones hits (The Dude, Back on the Block, Q's Jook Joint, and many more), to the music of greats from Count Basie, Duke Ellington, the Brothers Johnson, and Natalie Cole, Bruce Swedien has always operated at the highest level of excellence and expertise.
The Bruce Swedien Recording Method explains many of the techniques Swedien has used to capture unforgettable drum, bass, guitar, keyboard, vocal, string, and brass sounds. Learn his rationale for selecting and placing microphones; see the innovative techniques he has used to create a technical workflow that emphasizes the importance of musical considerations; feel the passion invested by this iconic music engineer into doing whatever it takes to find the perfect sound for everything he records, whether tracking or mixing.
The accompanying DVD-ROM contains never-before-seen footage of Bruce Swedien working through a mix, explaining what he thinks about and why he works the way he does during the recording and mixing process. He further reveals what he looks for in a recording and the steps he takes to imprint his characteristic world-class sonic signature on the music he mixes.
“For someone who wants to learn how to record great music, there’s no one better to emulate than Bruce Swedien. Pay attention to how he records music, but just as important, pay attention to why he records music and to the care and love that go into how he works,” writes Quincy Jones in the book’s foreword. The Bruce Swedien Recording Method provides the reader with a unique insight into the approach and the mindset Swedien used to record the best-selling records of all time.
About the Author
Five-time Grammy winner – and thirteen-time Grammy nominee – Bruce Swedien recorded and mixed the best-selling album in the history of recorded music, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, yet he was first publicly recognized in 1962 with a Grammy nomination for Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons’ “Big Girls Don’t Cry.” Swedien has also been awarded ten Grammy certificates and two ASCAP composer awards, and has been nominated for five TEC Awards. His standard of excellence was established early in life as the child of active symphony musicians. Long renowned as the best in the business, Swedien resides in Florida with his high school sweetheart, Bea, and has a world-class studio on his property along with an amazing collection of new and classic microphones. He generously shares his recording techniques and philosophies in his master class, “In the Studio with Bruce Swedien.”
The Bruce Swedien Recording Method
$39.99 (US)
Inventory #HL 00333302
ISBN: 9781458411198
Width: 8.5" Length: 11.0" 334 pages
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Friday, May 11, 2012

Drum Tuning and Conditioning

Drum Conditioning

To get good drum sounds, it’s necessary to be familiar with drum tuning and dampening techniques. A bad-sounding drum is nearly impossible to get a good recorded sound from. A good-sounding drum can make your recording experience much more enjoyable.
If the drum heads are dented and stretched out, cancel the rest of your appointments for the day. You’ll be spending a substantial amount of time getting an acceptable drum sound.
If the drums aren’t high-quality instruments, there’s a good chance that the shells aren’t smooth and level, and there’s a possibility that the drums aren’t even perfectly round. If this is the case, the heads won’t seat evenly on the drum shell and there’ll be a loss of tone, detracting from the drum sound. 


Often, the primary difference between a good-sounding drum and a bad-sounding drum lies simply in tuning. The standard approach to tuning involves:
Tuning the top head to the tone you want
Making sure the pitch is the same all the way around the head by tapping at each lug and adjusting the lugs until they all match
Duplicating the sound of the top head with the bottom head
If the head isn’t tuned evenly all the way around, it won’t resonate well and you’ll probably hear more extraneous overtones than smooth tones. 
Many drummers tune each tom to a specific pitch. In fact, inside the shell some drum manufacturers even stamp the name of the note at which the drum is designed to best resonate. 
When tuning drums to a musical note, keep the configuration of the band and the type of music in mind. In a guitar band, the most common keys are E, A, G, D, and maybe C. If the drums are tuned to notes that are common to those chords, such as A, D, E, and so on, the toms will typically have good tone but the fact that the guitars and keys play those notes often will result in strong sympathetic vibrations. Although the vibrations are strong, they will reinforce the tonality of the music and they’ll blend well with the mix.
Jazz bands typically play in keys with a lot of flats (Bb, F, Eb, Ab, and so on). In this setting the drums might blend better if tuned to common notes in these keys, such as Bb, F, Eb, Ab, and so on. 
It is possible to minimize sympathetic vibrations by tuning the drums to notes that don’t sympathetically vibrate as strongly in the normal genre-specific keys. For example, tuning the drums to F, Bb, Eb, and Ab in a guitar band would minimize the ringing toms. The only problem with this approach is that the pitch of the drums might fight the tonality of the music—the listening audience could feel like something was always a little off, or that the vocals or primary instrument was out of tune. 
It does matter how the drums are tuned. Every great drummer will be aware of how the drums are tuned and how they interact with the rest of the musical ensemble. In addition, every great recording engineer must be equally aware of the drums, their sound, their pitch, and how they fit with the rest of the group in the mix.

Masterclass in Anchorage!

I had a seriously great time in Anchorage, teaching at the Masterclass with Craig Anderton! They have a great music community and a fantastic group of people. The day-long class was PACKED full of audio stuff! An the state was showing off its beauty. Thanks to all in Anchorage for a great time and a new perspective on the music biz!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

New Stuff

It has truly been a thrill to work with Quincy Jones! I look forward to the other two books on the docket, Q on Film Scoring and Songwriting, and Q's Proteges! There are also a couple yet to be announced things in the wind—as soon as they're solidified I'll share.

Another exciting aspect of the coming months is the growth of a new relationship with Hal Leonard Publishing—the nice folks who published Q on Producing. I am now their Developmental Editor , which means I'm in the middle of a LOT of book projects! When I told them I wanted to help other professionals write books, I never guessed it would be at the elevated level that lies ahead. It's all very exciting and very fun. I'lll just keep blogging. More to come, soon.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010